Before they can start on the case Bosch is contacted by the Chief of Police to handle the investigation of the death of George Irving, a lawyer / lobbyist / fixer in City politics. He has fallen to his death from the top floor of the Chateau Marmont Hotel. Was it accident or murder or suicide?
Bosch is surprised to have been given the case because he has had a confrontational relationship with the deceased’s father, Irvin Irving, who is a former policeman and current L.A. city councillor with a consistent record of animosity towards the department of which he had long been a member. Bosch is truly startled when he learns Irvin has insisted that Bosch lead the investigation. Knowing only one way to investigate the death – to find the truth - Bosch demands and receives assurances from the Chief and Irvin that no specific result is required from his investigation.
Still the investigation is fraught with high jingo (top level internal police politics) as Bosch starts probing into the murky professional life led by George.
At the same time Bosch is putting some time into the investigation of the cold case searching into the heart of darkness of a young man who has become a predator himself after being profoundly emotionally scarred by the killer. An uncomfortable philosopher, Bosch, is forced to look at what makes a person evil.
A new love interest arises in Dr. Hannah Stone, a psychologist whose professional and personal life is consumed by the question of what causes evil.
If either Bosch or Stone were Christian they would consider the Devil can turn people evil. Are there angels and demons competing for the soul?
Connelly skillfully crafts another excellent mystery with plausible but unexpected twists.
I was left alittle uneasy by the picture of the killer in the cold case. The killer is a total monster. It is hard to conceive how this person had managed to even reach adulthood. The character is so extreme.
Bosch does have a philosophical principle guiding his investigations – everybody counts or nobody counts. Connelly challenges Bosch on whether he will live out his philosophy.
Always in the background is the DROP – Deferred Retirement Option Plan. Bosch is trying to maximize the length of his career within the Department. No matter his skill the end of his career is being defined by the police bureaucracy.
At home life is almost too good with Maddie. While I did not have a daughter I was the parent of two boys. The teenage years of my sons were good years but there were challenges and occasional conflicts. I doubt parenting a 15 year old girl is as smooth as portrayed in the book. At the same time I am glad she is normal teenager not filled with angst.
It is a good book. I am glad Connelly kept Mickey Haller out of the book. I find his books function better with Bosch and Haller apart. (Feb. 5/12)